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Looking for Some Fourth Of July Fun?

We’ve Got You Covered, From Tampa to St. Pete!

Happy Birthday America!

Fourth of July celebrations in the Bay area seem to get a little bigger, louder and tastier each year. Here’s a sampling of some of the more popular events. However you plan to celebrate our country’s adoption of the Declaration of Independence back in 1776, be safe, have fun and leave the fireworks to the pros.

Florida Aquarium July 4 Celebration
Monday, July 4
9:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.

It’s going to be a red, white and blue weekend at The Florida Aquarium with dazzling fireworks displays, family-friendly entertainment, and an all-American themed dinner menu! Fireworks will take place at 9 p.m. The Aquarium will close at the conclusion of the fireworks show. (Source)

Temple Terrace annual Fourth of July Parade & Fireworks

Monday, July 4
Family Recreation Complex, Temple Terrace

The annual Temple Terrace Independence Day Parade will take place on Monday, July 4 from 10 a.m. to noon. It will start at the corner of Whiteway Drive and Gillette Avenue. Evening festivities will start at 6 p.m. on the first fairway of the Temple Terrace golf course. There will be a variety of food vendors, live music and other entertainment. Fireworks will light up the sky at 9:15 p.m. (Source)

Tampa Red, White and Blue Fest

Sunday, July 3 from 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Cotanchobee Park, Tampa

Bring the entire family and wear your red, white and blue for an evening of pure entertainment by the Tampa Riverwalk in Channelside at Cotanchobee Park. There will be live music by the Riverwalk, an “Southern Hospitality” food court and exhibits from local artists, jewelers and craft designers.
Admission is free. (Source)

Fireworks Across the Bay, Monday, July 4th

Watch the fireworks from most of the waterfront parks in St. Pete, starting at 9pm. Don’t forget to check the weather conditions, which may change the start time. This event is free!
Spa Beach at the Pier approach, 615 Second Ave. N., St. Petersburg; (727) 893-7441

Red, White & Zoo Holiday Weekend July 3-5th from 9:30 – 5pm

In honor of Independence Day, members of the military (active-duty, retirees and veterans) and up to three direct dependents are invited to visit the Zoo for free July 4. The military member will need to show a valid military photo ID at the Zoo’s ticket counter. Admission for additional dependents may be purchased at a special rate of $15. VIEW MORE INFO

Here’s a link to all of the patriotic celebrations in the area by county. Have a fun, safe & fantastic Fourth of July weekend!

Photo: Source

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What’s Happening in The Tampa Bay Area This Memorial Day?

Next week’s Memorial Day holiday will once again offer an abundance of good food and good times around the Tampa Bay area. But of course, we won’t overlook the real purpose of the holiday, which is to remember the sacrifices that our service men and women have made for us. In fact, the origins of Memorial Day go all the way back to the Civil War when it was originally called Decoration Day, established to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, officially proclaimed this in 1868 but it wasn’t fully recognized by all northern states until 1890. Initially, the Southern states refused to acknowledge the day, preferring to pay respects to their dead on separate days. After World War I, the holiday expanded its scope beyond the Civil War and became a day to remember all Americans who fought in any war.

If you’re looking for a way to celebrate next week, here is a sampling of events for you to try:

Tampa Bay Margarita Festival featuring Blues Traveler: Saturday, May 28th

The 4th Annual Tampa Bay Margarita Festival is back and saltier than ever in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. Over “21-ers” can choose from an assortment of 40+ margarita flavors while listening to the festive sounds of the band Blues Traveler. Plenty of delicious food options to indulge in too! Visit www.tampamargaritafest.com for ticket and festival information. All the fun begins at 1pm. But of course, please drink responsibly.

Sunset Music Festival at Raymond James Stadium: Saturday, May 28th

Once again the Sunset Music Festival returns to Raymond James this Memorial Day weekend. To see the DJ line-up and get ticket info, visit www.smftampa.com . There’s even an app to follow the fun. Just like last year, this will be an epic two-day electronic dance party beginning Saturday May 28th; gates open at 2pm.

Cheer for Tampa Bay! Bring the family and cheer for your team. The Tampa Bay Rays take on the New York Yankees at home over the Memorial Day weekend with games on Friday, 5/27th, Saturday, 5/28th and Sunday, 5/29th. Support our Tampa Bay Lightning hockey champs as they get one step closer to the Stanley Cup!! Click here for tickets and scheduling.

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Ears First or Feet First?

It’s hard to believe that we’re already nearing April & that we’re now talking about Egg Hunts & Chocolate bunnies.

Yes, this weekend brings Easter, and no doubt you’ll be digging into your kid’s Easter baskets to root around for the leftover jelly beans or nibbling on the chocolate rabbit you got for yourself.

Before you tear off the tinfoil & start chomping on the ears, you may stop & think  to yourself, “I can’t be in the minority of people who like to torture little chocolate bunnies by eating their ears first.”

In fact, you are! 76% of Americans believe eating the rabbit feet first is the right way to eat your chocolate bunny.

As you probably know, Easter candy this time of year is virtually inescapable-from your box store retailers to your corner CVS or Walgreen’s to your co-worker’s desk, you probably feels like you’re swimming in chocolate (which is something many dream of but few achieve).

The reason why is that Easter is the second largest candy consuming holiday next to Halloween. Roughly 90 million chocolate Easter bunnies are made for Easter every year! And that’s not all- according to Kid’s Play:

  • Everyday 5 million marshmallow chicks and bunnies are made to prepare or Easter.
  • Peeps are the most popular non chocolate Easter candy.
  • Around 700 million peeps are sold for Easter.
  • Jellybeans became an Easter tradition in the 1930’s.
  • 16 billion jelly beans are made for Easter.
  • Cherry or red is the most popular flavor/color jellybean.
  • The most popular chocolate eggs are Cadbury Cream Eggs.

So chew on that as you chew on the last of the stale Peeps this Easter!

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Six More Weeks!

So it’s official: Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow earlier this week, which means six more weeks of winter. Luckily, we live in the Tampa Bay area which means we have a far more moderate winter than the Northeast does.

You probably won’t be running your AC unit much this time of year, but  it does get chilly here in the evenings (like tonight, which is projected to drop to the mid 40’s) which means you’re probably going to put on the heater a few more times in the next month.

Believe it or not, now is the best time to do a full AC check up, mainly because you aren’t using your unit much either for cooling…but you will be in just a few months, which is all the more reason to insure your air conditioner, compressor unit, duct system and thermostat are working to their optimal level.

Here are a couple of tips to start preparing your unit for the first days of AC weather:

  • Run your air conditioner for a few minutes now, before you need it.  If you wait until the first hot day to discover it isn’t working, you’ll find yourself on a waiting list, sweltering sometimes for days before an air conditioning specialist can come to fix it.
  • Before turning on your unit make sure the condensing unit located outside is not covered up.  This unit needs to draw air into the system in order to have something to cool and blow out inside, but the process will be hindered if it cannot pull enough air from the outside.
  • Clean obvious obstructions such as newspaper, leaves, etc. from around the exterior of the unit.
  • A thoroughly cleaned air conditioning unit will operate at top efficiency.  Homeowners are strongly discouraged from using a hose and water to try to clean it themselves because of the very serious risk of electrical shock and possible shorting of electrical components.
  • Change the filters regularly.  Dirty filters restrict airflow, reducing efficiency and worse case, can cause the evaporator to ice up.  Disposable fiberglass filters should be replaced.  Electrostatic or electronic filters need to be washed regularly.
  • Be sure all access panels are secure, with the screws in place.
  • Be sure the thermostat is set in the cooling mode.  Just setting the dial below room temperature will not activate the air conditioning if it is set in the heat mode.
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A: 46 Million!

Q: So just how many Turkeys are Americans eating this Thanksgiving?

That is a lot of turkey. But that’s not all.

As you sit & meditate on your third plate of sweet potatoes, ask yourself:

“How many pounds of sweet potatoes & yams are people eating today? After all, I can’t be alone…in having my third plate of sweet potatoes.

Can I?”

A: 1.9 billion pounds of sweet potatoes. And no-you are not alone.

“Well now I feel better…if I weren’t so full. But…but. There’s still a pumpkin pie. And it looks so good. And no one is around….and I want to eat it.”

Whoa, you have room for one whole pumpkin pie? That is impressive, but hey-welcome to the club! According to All Spice, 50 Million Pumpkin Pies are eaten, and in some cases:

One in five Americans has eaten an entire pie by themselves. That adds up to about 2,000 calories for an 8-inch pumpkin pie, around 2,500 calories for an apple pie, and up to 4,000 calories for a pecan pie.

So think of that as you lift that last pie into your face on Friday morning as you have an entire pie to yourself for breakfast.

Better yet, don’t think of it and enjoy your calorie loaded Thanksgiving feast!

Photo Courtesy of Food Beast / Atlantic Veterinary Care
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How Long Has Trick-or-Treating Been Around?

By all accounts, Halloween is the second most commercial holiday behind (yes) Christmas, which rakes in over $2 billion dollars worldwide, which equates to – whoa – 90 million pounds of chocolate.

That’s a lot of Snickers.

But how did it get to be that popular? Well, it seems Halloween is, in fact, not a new tradition, though it did experience a 20th century revival. According to the Business Insider:

Versions of trick-or-treating have existed since medieval times. In the past, it was known as “guising” where children and poor adults went around in costumes during Hallowmas begging for food and money in exchange for songs or prayers. It was also called “souling.”

Trick-or-treating was brought to America by the Irish and became popular during the early 20th century, but died out during WWII when sugar was rationed. After the rationing ended in 1947, children’s magazine “Jack and Jill,” radio program “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet,” and the “Peanuts” comic strip all helped to re-popularize the tradition of dressing up in costumes and asking for candy from door-to-door.

By 1952, trick-or-treating was hugely popular again.

The real roots of dressing up for Halloween come primarily from the Celts:

Halloween originates from a Celtic tradition called Samhain, a festival that marked the end of the Celtic calendar year in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. They believed it was a time that spirits or fairies could enter our world, and the Celts would put out treats and food to placate the spirits — sometimes, a place at the table was even set for the souls of the dead.

Celts believed Samhain was a time when the wall between our world and the paranormal world was porous and spirits could get through. Because of this belief, it was common for the Celts to wear costumes and masks during the festival to ward off or befuddle any evil spirits.

Think of that when you chow down on your child’s massive of haul of Halloween goodies this Friday.

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What Are You Celebrating on Labor Day?

Even though we have a lot  more of the season in Florida than in other states, Labor Day is the last official holiday of Summer to get together with family & friends, relax at home or go to catch the Rays play.

It’s a great time to reflect on why we have Labor Day in the first place. According to History.com:

“Many credit Peter J. McGuire, cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, while others have suggested that Matthew Maguire, a secretary of the Central Labor Union, first proposed the holiday.

Labor Day…originated during one of American labor history’s most dismal chapters. In the late 1800s, at the height of the Industrial Revolution in the United States, the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks in order to eke out a basic living. Despite restrictions in some states, children as young as 5 or 6 toiled in mills, factories and mines across the country, earning a fraction of their adult counterparts’ wages. People of all ages, particularly the very poor and recent immigrants, often faced extremely unsafe working conditions, with insufficient access to fresh air, sanitary facilities and breaks.

As manufacturing increasingly supplanted agriculture as the wellspring of American employment, labor unions, which had first appeared in the late 18th century, grew more prominent and vocal. They began organizing strikes and rallies to protest poor conditions and compel employers to renegotiate hours and pay. Many of these events turned violent during this period, including the infamous Haymarket Riot of 1886, in which several Chicago policemen and workers were killed.

Others gave rise to longstanding traditions: On September 5, 1882, 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march from City Hall to Union Square in New York City, holding the first Labor Day parade in U.S. history.

The idea of a “workingmen’s holiday,” celebrated on the first Monday in September, caught on in other industrial centers across the country, and many states passed legislation recognizing it. Congress would not legalize the holiday until 12 years later…”

As always, take pause & give thanks for the opportunity to spend quality time with your friends and family on this year’s workman’s holiday.

Photo courtesy of Free Great Images

Fourth of July is Two Days Late! A Fun Fact About Independence Day

As we get ready to celebrate the the 238th anniversary of our nation’s independence this Friday the Fourth, we thought we’d stop to consider that we’re actually celebrating our Nation’s birth two days later than we’re supposed to.

Wait-we’ve been doing this wrong for 238 years? According to Heather Sanders:

Initially adopted by Congress on July 2, 1776, the revised version of the Declaration of Independence was not adopted until two days later.

John Adams
John Adams

In fact, John Adams wrote to his wife Abegail:

“The Second of July, 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival.”

According to The Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss:

Because it was on July 2, 1776, that the Second Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia voted to approve a resolution for independence from Britain.

On that same day, the Pennsylvania Evening Post published this: “This day the Continental Congress declared the United Colonies Free and Independent States.”

The document was adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4th. The first draft of the declaration was written by Thomas Jefferson, who gave it to John Adams and Benjamin Franklin for editing. (You can read about it at the National Archives Web site.) Jefferson then took their version, refined it further and presented it to the Congress.

Scholars don’t even think the document was signed by delegates of the Continental Congress on July 4th.

And that’s the reason why we celebrate the Fourth of July on the the Fourth, and not the Second. Get ready to blow some minds with that fact at your Fourth of July Barbeque this weekend!